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We get asked a lot by parents, “what snacks are good for my child’s teeth”. Usually they already know that candy is not a good choice, but they want to know if there are snacks that are actually beneficial for their kids’ teeth. If children get to decide they obviously tend to head for the sugary snacks, or the ones heavily advertised on TV. But there are some good choices to make for snacks, that can be both tasty, and healthy.
Think ‘Natural’
Foods that are good for your overall health are, in most cases, also good for your teeth. Most fruits and vegetables are good options for snacks. You may have to dress some vegetables up a bit to get kids to like them. For instance, combining slices of celery with cheese.
Lean Meats
Lean meats (chicken breast, fish, turkey) are also good options for snacks. Avoid going overboard when using processed meats (such as Lunchables), since they are loaded with salt. But the good part is that they are usually lower in sugar compared to most items kids normally snack on.
Use Foods That Don’t Come In A Package
Many foods that appear to be healthy, such as many brands of ‘breakfast bars’, can in fact be loaded with hidden sugars. And these sugars, in turn, end up sticking to the surfaces of your kids’ teeth. Sugar is even found in higher concentrations in dried fruit, honey, and other items. Since sugar can also occur naturally, it is always best if you can get your kids to brush about 30 minutes after snacking.
Drinks are another confusing area. Adults many times presume that fruit juices are ok when actually many of them are loaded with extra amounts of sugar as well. If given a choice, the best drinks for your kids’ teeth are water and low-fat milk. And milk has the additional advantage of calcium, which you probably know is very good for the bone structure that supports the teeth.
So the old adage ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’, may have some truth in it, since it’s a great snack to keep teeth healthy. Therefore, the next time your kids are looking for an afternoon snack, steer them toward some options that are also good for their overall health and their teeth.